Friday, June 22, 2012

Exercise Helps Decrease Arthritis Pain!

Did you know that arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States? 22% of adults have arthritis. For many of my patients a diagnosis conjures up fears of needles, medication side effects, and ultimately--surgery. Most look at me with disbelief when I tell them that exercise--even weightbearing exercise--may actually help alleviate their pain.

Numerous medical studies have shown that physical activity is an important but underused intervention for adults with arthritis that decreases pain, delays the onset of disability, improves physical functioning, mood and independence, and enhances quality of life, aerobic capacity, and muscle strength.

Here are some recommendations for all adults:

• 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity, or 1 hour and 15 minutes a week of vigorous intensity aerobic physical activity.
• Additional health benefits are provided by increasing to 5 hours a week of moderate intensity aerobic physical activity, or 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of vigorous intensity physical activity, or a combination of both.
• Muscle-strengthening activities that involve all major muscle groups performed on 2 or more days per week.

Brisk walking is a good example of moderate intensity exercise and more intense jogging is considered vigorous. Biking and swimming are also good options.

It is often difficult for folks to find time in their busy schedules to exercise, but the great thing is that these periods of exercise can be broken up into small chunks. Even a ten minute bout of exercise is worth it. Strive to do enough of these a week to add up to the recommendations above. Those knees won't ache as much if you do!

For more ideas on exercise activities:

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